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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), the world’s biggest generic drugmaker, has won a patent infringement case on generic painkiller OxyContin filed by Purdue Pharma LP., a federal judge ruled after a nonjury trial. Purdue plans to appeal.
U.S. District Judge in ManhattanSidney Stein also invalidated some of the six Purdue patents covering the drug that were involved in the case. He said that while Teva infringed at least three of Purdue’s patents, it escaped liability for the infringement because it demonstrated that the patents were obvious and therefore invalid.
Purdue argued that Teva, which manufactures generic pharmaceutical products, infringed its patents by seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell an equivalent of OxyContin.
“The court concludes that Teva has not infringed on any valid patents asserted by plaintiffs, ” Stein ruled. “Although plaintiffs have proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Teva’s proposed products infringe” upon four patents, “Teva has proved by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims of those patents are invalid, ” Stein said.
OxyContin sales made up about $2.81 billion of the $9.38 billion U.S. market for prescription painkillers in 2012.
In April, Purdue settled a patent-infringement lawsuit against Actavis Inc.(ACT) over OxyContin, a narcotic used to treat pain from cancer and other conditions that can also be abused by addicts. In a statement at the time the companies said that Purdue granted Actavis a license to sell “defined quantities” of a generic version of the drug .
Bloomberg says that prescription painkillers were involved in 14, 800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.